I Stuck in My Thumb | Newberry

I Stuck in My Thumb

It is true that you can’t donate things just at the moment. (For one thing, the question of how long s virus can live on a book has yet to be resolved. I doubt that it’s very long. I know some authors who couldn’t live on their books. Anyway, the bookselling websites ain’t skeered.)

But this does NOT mean I can’t complain…exclaim about some of the amazing things you’ve donated. Sometimes, don’t you know, your uncle Blogsy gets busy discussing with volunteers why the Madison Square Garden Cookbook needs to go into Cooking instead of Gardening, and can’t always pay proper attention to the odds and ends you have included in the corners of boxes. Now, of course, I am looking for things to do while I sit at home, and I must go through these boxes of things I was going to get around to later. It’s Later, and I have been getting around to them.

One of the things a Book Fair manager has to know, it turns out, is when is a hat pin not a hat pin. Take this little hat which you tossed into a box of books. There’s a pin on it. Is it a decoration or is it something else? Your Uncle Blogsy is NOT an expert on fashion (though you wouldn’t believe it to look at him) but there was just a certain something about this hat.

Tain’t a hat, for one thing. It’s a cap. In fact, it is a garrison cap, the sort of thing members of the armed services are expected to wear on their heads when not wearing OTHER headgear (it all gets complex.) And this pin is not a pin but Insignia. It shows me that what I have here is a midshipman’s garrison cap, the sort of thing Navy folk get rid of as soon as they’re allowed to wear a cap that shows they’ve graduated.

Here we have a glass stopper for a bottle. It’s large and hollow, and I THINK the best ones are supposed to be solid. (But I’ve heard people argue this about chocolate bunnies, too.) Have to find a way to look that up, even without the bottle. This wooden owl is cute: doesn’t matter what vintage. Cute will always sell. I was of two minds about what to do with this ice cream scoop. I don’t happen to own an ice cream scoop at the moment, but ice cream never really seems to last long enough around here to need a scoop and besides, there are WORDS on this ice cream scoop.

Looking at the words brings it all back. I TRIED to get the Newberry to add this to the Wing Collection, as a piece of book publishing history. They did not want to open the doors to all the kinds of things publishers do when a book comes out. (They quite liked the book packaged as if it were a carton of cigarettes, but no, they didn’t have room. As for the novel that was published with a free tennis ball, they just kind of made faces at me.)

Now that Sue Grafton’s alphabetical mystery series has ended with the letter Y, the most popular sequenced mysteries around seem to be Janet Evanovich’s numbered Stephanie Plum adventures, which began with One for the Money and is now up to Twisted Twenty-Six. But before ever Stephanie Plum was seen, Janet Evanovich wrote romances, including a series of romances featuring a matchmaker/secondary character named Elsie Hawkins. One of these, published in 1989, was called Rocky Road to Romance.

Once the Stephanie Plum mysteries took off, and made Janet Evanovich not just a good and reliable writer but a Commodity, publishers hurried to get those romances back into print. When Harper’s published Rocky Road to Romance in a shiny new format, what, I ask you, could have been more appropriate than a souvenir Janet Evanovich ice cream scoop?

I don’t think you will find this at the Book fair come July. I could find no other ice cream scoops like this one (kind of small and plastic: I think it would break under the weight of real Rocky Road) and I am going to put it up for sale there in the hopes that some Plum fan will enshrine it.

You’ll have to make do with the garrison cap. Or the wooden owl. Or the bottle stopper. Or this really weird little action figure with a camera that rises behind the head of the man or alien or monster who’s wearing…. Doesn’t matter. HE was never on an ice cream scoop.

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